On a typical balmy day in the Sunshine State, you can see myriad pedestrians, bicyclists, rollerbladers and skateboarders soaking up the sun. Somewhat new to the mix are Segway riders, who buzz along park trails and boardwalks with the aid of a small motor. While some are individual riders, the majority seems to be tourist groups who are relatively inexperienced riders. How are they fitting into the outdoor traffic scene?
According to Florida statute, Segways are treated as “electric personal assistive mobility devices”. They are allowed on roadways with a speed limit not exceeding 25 MPH, and any street where bicycles are allowed, including bike paths. They are also allowed on sidewalks, but only with the understanding that they must always yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Individuals under the age of 16 are required to wear strapped-on helmets that meet American National Standards Institute standards.
Riders are not required to have a driver’s license, and the machines do not need to be licensed or insured.
No insurance? Yes, you read that correctly. If it is not required insure these devices, what does it mean for riders who experience problems?
Segway accidents do happen. In fact, James Heselden himself, who owned the company who makes Segway, died in a Segway accident. And millions the world over witnessed the Segway-riding cameraman who collided with Usain Bolt after his Olympic track victory.
Emergency room doctors agree that injuries related to Segways are on the increase, and the injuries can be significant. Inexperienced riders seem to be the most likely to incur injuries.
The most common harms involve traumatic head and/or face injuries, which occur with more frequency than auto-pedestrian accidents. Additional medical issues include clavicle, rib, ankle and arm fractures. In one hospital study, 24 percent of people injured in Segway accidents were admitted to the intensive care unit.
Who is Liable After a Segway Accident?
Some Segway lawsuits claim product malfunction. These cases focus on the devices stopping quickly due to sensor issues or dead batteries, causing centrifugal force to wreak havoc on riders. In the Segway’s infancy, there were a couple of recalls related to these issues. Investigations indicate that other software glitches may exist currently, which may cause sudden stopping or jerking.
Even though the devices may comply with government standards, the company has a further duty to ensure product safety. If accidents are foreseeable, and the company knew or should have known of risks, and took no action to remedy the issue(s), they may be held liable due to negligence.
If you are injured while on a Segway tour, it is possible that the tour company is liable, as well.
Get Help After a Segway Accident
If you experience a Segway accident and have medical bills piling up in addition to lost wages due to your time away from work, you need an experienced personal injury team on the case. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Scoma Law Firm in Clermont have the tools to investigate your case, and will work to provide the best possible outcome for you. Contact us today for a confidential, free consultation.